Most children learn from experiencing. However, it is a natural instinct as parents to not want to see your child get hurt. Often times this means giving them a lecture about the type of behaviors and choices that are acceptable. Most children also have a way of doing the exact opposite of what you are trying to say, believing that the facts will turn out defiantly for them. Following a simple five-step process may help you as a parent remember how to best teach your child the consequences for actions and decisions.
Avoid negatives. Often times a parents will says things like “Don’t touch that, Stop running, Never push”. All of these phrases focus on negative language. Trying to change these is a very hard and continuous learning process. “Don’t touch that” could be changed to “That is hot”, “That might hurt you”. This phrases are exact and to the point. “Walking inside is safer” is an alternative to the running phrase. Learning to change all of the negatives to the positives is very hard to do. However, if you have a master list of phrases that you tend to say, and write down alternatives then it may help you learn to be more positive. Chances are very good that when your child hears you tell them not to do something they will then do it anyway.
Describe your own consequences. Tell your child what the consequences you think would happen if you did this behavior. “If I pushed that person, they might push me back” is a good example. This tells the child the consequences that may occur without directly telling the child why he or she should not do the chosen behavior. This type of wording tends to make the child more actively listen. You tone of voice should be cal, and smooth. Make this a conversation.
Do not remind. The child has heard the conversation, and if you remind the child of your ‘warning’, you will be nagging. This type of lecture is the same as telling them not to do something. Often times they will just be so annoy by your constant inference that they will do it anyway. This is the hardest thing to do because we have an inborn instinct to protect our children. Do so in life and death emergencies. Often times a scrap or bruise hurts the parents worse then the kids. If you watch your child when the fall and do not start crying or making a big deal out of it, your child will often just brush it off. Your child cannot learn if he or she does not try something, sometimes a few times of trying.
Be prepared for bad choices. After all of these, your child may still make a bad decision. These are going to happen no matter what type of warning or conversation you have given them about the situation. Being mentally prepared for a bad choice will let you as a parent is aware of what may happen. No matter how many times you tell your child what may happen, they just may not get it until they experience it for themselves.
Give empathy without blaming or causing guilt. After the negative consequence happens, remind your child that it is what would have happened to you too. This type of language allows your child to connect the bad choice with the consequence. This will make them remember the conservation that happened prior to the bad choice. Hence, showing them that you are smart and maybe they taught you something. Children love to teach their parents something new. Give them a hug and clean up any bruises. Empathy is very important. This will lock in your taught lesson without your children being made to feel bad or guilty for doing the wrong decision.
Teaching children about the right choices can be very tough to do. If a parent becomes overbearing chances are good for your children to make many more choices that may not result in good consequences. Remember these steps when dealing with your children on a daily basis.